Bridges that Tell of Emperors, Battles and Legends:
Paris has thirty-seven bridges that criss-cross the River Seine and these bridges tell long and interesting stories of emperors, battles, legends, etc. Along the stretch from Pont de Grenelle to Pont de la Concorde alone are towering monuments and grand exhibition halls that are remnants of the Napoleonic era and the Industrial Revolution.
One of the nicest ways to see these Paris bridges is from a Seine River Cruise. Not only do you get to sail under the bridges, but you also get close enough to look at any interesting features, some of which can only be seen from the water.
Cruising the Seine through Paris is also an enjoyable way of seeing the sights and monuments along the river and the Seine River itself has been classified a world heritage site by UNESCO.
Many cruise companies offer cruises on the Seine during the day and evening and it’s nice to enjoy both experiences. We did a day cruise as well as a dinner cruise with Bateaux Mouches. The powerful floodlights from the river boats illuminate the Seine at night and there’s no problems seeing the bridges and other sights.
Some of the Bridges of Paris
- Pont Neuf is the oldest of Paris bridges. Built in 1604 with 385 sculpted masks and famous half-moon-shaped turrets, this bridge has witnessed much of Paris’ history.
- At Pont d’Lena is Paris’ iconic Eiffel Tower which is beautifully lit up at night.
- Pont Alexandre III was the star of the 1900 Exposition Universelle and is Paris’ most ornate bridge. Named after Tsar Alexander III of Russia, its construction was a celebration of Franco-Russian friendship. Look out for the sculpted nymphs and garlands, bronze candelabras and flamboyant gold equestrian statuary.
- At Pont de Grenelle stands the Statue of Liberty which was given to Paris in 1885. This small statue faces west in the direction of the original Statue of Liberty in New York.
- At the central pier of Pont de l’Alma is the Zouave, a statue of a soldier which is used to measure the level of the River Seine when it floods.
- The Pont des Arts dates back to 1804 when Napoleon wanted Paris to have a metal bridge. The original structure was demolished in 1981 and this reconstructed bridge was completed in 1984.
- The city’s most recent bridge is the Simone de Beauvoir wooden footbridge, which links the Bibliothèque Nationale library to the gardens of Bercy. Opened in 2006, this Paris bridge was named after Simone de Beauvoir, an author and philosopher and France’s most influential feminist.
If you’re interested in Paris’ bridges and the history that surround their construction, it’s useful to obtain a river map before you do the cruise so that you’ll know what you’re looking at. The Seine cruises themselves are very pleasant and let you see many of Paris’ sightseeing attractions from the river’s perspective.